Laos is known as a splendid exotic travel destination with ancient templates and enigmatic heritage sites. You will feel like going back in time when exploring this landlocked country. So, which historical sites should you include in the Laos tour packages? Let’s read on to discover the most inspiring historical sites in Laos.
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Top-Visit Historical Sites In Laos
The first must-visit historical attraction in your trip to Laos is Wat Phu (or Vat Phu). Wat Phu (or Vat Phu) means “temple on the mountain” in the Lao language. The site embraces this name as it is at the base of mount Phou Khao, which overlooks the plains towards the Mekong river. This ancient temple was initially dedicated to Shiva – a God in the Hindu Trimurti. It also has been known as one of the earliest Khmer sanctuaries.
In the 13th century, it was rebuilt to worship Buddha. As such, Wat Phu evokes the unique beauty of Hindu and Buddist culture. This temple is still a place for worshiping local Buddhists nowadays. This historical site is divided into three main levels: lower, middle, and upper. On each level, you will see unique pavilions with beautiful cravings. Some of these buildings are more than 1,000 years old, but most have existed since the 11th-13th century. The best time to visit Wat Phu is in the early morning when the temperature is quite cool, and the temple appears in the best light.
Wat Ho Phra Keo
The second name on the list of highly recommended historical sites to include in Laos private tours is Wat Ho Phra Keo. This former ancient temple is one of the leading museums of religious art in Laos. The temple was built in 1565 under the reign of Setthathirat as a royal place of prayer and a preservation area for the Phra Keo (Emerald Buddha), a sacred statue carved from a single piece of jade.
In 1779, Siamese soldiers stole the worthwhile statue. In 1828, the temple was badly damaged because of time and war.
From 1936 to 1942, Souvanna Phouma, the first prime minister of Laos, rebuilt the temple and transferred it into the current museum. The Phra Keo statue is now preserved in Bangkok.
The name Ho Phra Keo means “Altar of the Emerald Buddha”, given that only the altar remained when the Siamese force took the statue away. Although the Phra Keo buddha no longer sits in Wat Ho Phra Keo, this temple is still a worth-visiting place because of its unique architecture and lots of Buddha statues. More especially, each of these statues has different facial expressions. You will surely be amazed by the exquisiteness of Wat Ho Phra Keo!
Great Sacred Stupa (Pha That Luang)
Pha That Luang (Great Sacred Stupa) is a sacred monument, this attraction can also be seen as the symbol of this country. It had undergone several major reconstructions over the years. Each re-construction carried the breath of that time and connected to Lao culture and identity.
The three levels of sublime structure representing the ascent from the Earth to the Sky. The first level presenting the underworld features hundreds of sema stones. The next one has 30 stupas standing for 30 Pāramitā (the perfections of the Buddha). On the top of the complex, you will see a splendid soaring stupa approximately 69 meters long and 45 meters high. The stupa is covered with around 500 kilos of gold leaf that represent for the splendor and wealth of the empire. Laotians only used real gold for the pinnacle and painted the rest with golden color.
Wat Mai Suwannaphumaham
Wat Mai Suwannaphumaham (formerly known as Wat May or Wat Mai) is amongst the most beautiful ancient Buddhist sites. Wat Mai was built in the eighteenth-century, then was enlarged in the 19th century, and was given the name “Wat Mai” (the New Monastery). The temple was sacred to locals, as it fortunately survived and still retained its ancient architecture after the destruction by Chinese invaders in 1887.
Visit this ancient wat, and you will be impressed by its distinctive color combination – black lacquer, red and yellow leaves. It also features an impressive slim structure with a tiered roof extending almost to the ground. At the bottom of the roof, you will notice the beautiful golden Naga finials. At the center of the highest tier is a “Dok so faa” (metal roof decoration) with three golden parasols.
The Plain of Jars
Are your family big fans of mysterious historical attractions? Then, the Plain of Jars is definitely the best travel destination to visit during Laos tour packages. It is one of the most impressive prehistoric sites in Southeast Asia!
You will find more than 2,000 megalithic crock jars for funerary purposes a long time ago.
These distinctive jars, built from granite and sandstone, came in various sizes. Research shows that these jars have existed since the Iron Age, and some of them might have over-2,000-year-old lifespans. Among over 90 sites at the Plain of Jars, sites #1, #2, and #3 are the most popular. Site #1 has been known for featuring the greatest number of enormous carved crock jars (around 300 ones) and the biggest jar. Besides, it has a natural limestone formation that was used as a crematorium.
Located on hilltops, sites #2 and #3 are ideal places for not only plain-jar-discovering but also farmland-and-village sightseeing. Along with the stone jars, this megalithic place also comes with many prehistoric items, including, secondary burials, stone discs, gravestones, funerary objects, and quarries.
Here are the top 5 magnificent historical sites in Laos. Each of them evokes the unique beauty of Laotian cultures and traditions. Hope that you will include these splendid historical sites in your Laos tour packages and have such a good time with your family.
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